In a win for freedom of association today, Trinity College president Joanne Berger-Sweeney announced she has asked the college’s board to endorse eliminating the “coed mandate” that would have forced fraternities and sororities at the Connecticut college to admit students of both genders.
FIRE wrote to Trinity in 2013 after its board of trustees approved a proposal calling for, among other requirements, gender parity requirements to be applied to student social clubs. The move threatened to end sororities and fraternities which by their [...] » Read More
Radley Balko, the award-winning reporter and author of Washington Post’s opinion blog The Watch, shares his thoughts on the biggest threats to free speech in America today, specifically increased public demand for protection from offensive speech and government crackdowns on extremism.
Balko called the idea that the government should police offensive speech “an impossible standard to enforce.”
“I mean, I’m offended by the notion that I can’t write something that offends people,” said Balko.
“At some level, some government official is going to have to decide whose claims to offense are legitimate,” he said. “We need [...] » Read More
As dedicated Torch readers know, I’ve been known to engage in a rant or two about university presidents who wax poetic about the value of free speech and then go on to carve out all sorts of exceptions for unpopular speech—which is precisely what the First Amendment is designed to protect. (University of Iowa and Brandeis University, I’m looking at you.)» Read More
Want to support FIRE’s efforts to help save comedy at American colleges and universities?» Read More
Category: The Torch
When I took employment law in law school, the professor warned us on the first day that personnel disputes would be among the most vicious we would encounter as lawyers because they are, by definition, personal. Louisiana State University has proved my professor’s point by launching a series of attacks against Professor Teresa Buchanan, who, in spite of having tenure, was fired from the university in June 2015 on the flimsiest of grounds: her use of profanity constituted sexual harassment.» Read More
PHILADELPHIA, September 3, 2015—More than half of America’s top colleges and universities maintain policies that infringe upon the free speech rights of students and faculty. But as the new academic year begins, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is working hard to change that—via litigation, legislation, and hands-on policy change with students, faculty, and administrators who want to protect campus rights.» Read More
Category: Press Releases
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit became the most recent of the federal circuit courts to expand the power of secondary schools to punish students for their off-campus Internet speech. In an en banc decision in Bell v. Itawamba County School Board, the Fifth Circuit took a significant bite out of students’ First Amendment rights outside the schoolhouse gates. The decision sets a disappointing precedent that will not only impact students in elementary, junior high, and high school, but could very well leak onto college campuses.» Read More
Category: The Torch
You might remember that at the end of last year, FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff dubbed 2014 “The Year of the Heckler.” There’s still a ways to go with 2015, but recent events are making a compelling case to dub it “The Year of the Tattler.”» Read More
In an ironic twist, Columbia University—long branded a “red light” institution by FIRE for policies that restrict free speech on campus—asked a federal judge to dismiss a high-profile Title IX lawsuit against the university on Friday, invoking the First Amendment.» Read More
As FIRE supporters know, free debate and discussion is all too rare at America’s colleges and universities. Students are increasingly being convinced that there are some topics on which they shouldn’t be free to disagree. If our nation’s liberal education is to fulfill its promise of promoting critical thinking, that needs to change—and soon. That’s why this year, FIRE is launching a new program that will bring the free exchange of ideas directly to college students: FIRE Debates.» Read More
Category: The Torch